"In Rhetorical Investigations, Walter Jost juxtaposes problems and questions in philosophy and literature, using rhetoric as the middle term and common ground between them. Drawing on the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Stanley Cavell, among others, Jost joins a small band of contemporary literary critics who are rethinking theory beyond the apriorism of much poststructuralism and its built-in reading against the grain
By elaborating an "ordinary language criticism" stabilized in grammatical and rhetorical possibilities of language rather than in empirical actualities, Jost shows how literary critics at all levels, from the undergraduate to the sophisticated theorist, "pose" as they read, trying out "performances" of the words as claims to self-knowledge as well as cultural critique." "In the second half of the book, Jost examines the "low modernist" poetry of Robert Frost, finding in Frost's work a "scene of instruction" through which underappreciated resources for criticism can be recovered in the traditions of rhetoric, hermeneutics, pragmatism, and ordinary language philosophy."--Jacket
Includes bibliographical references (pages 299-338) and index
bk. I. Rhetoric: an advanced primer ; 1. Dialectic as dialogue: the order of the ordinary ; 2. Rhetorical invention: notes toward an American low modernism ; 3. Grammatical judgment: it all depends on what you mean by "home" ; 4. Logical proof: perspicuous representations -- bk. II. Four beginnings for a book on Robert Frost ; 5. Lessons in the conversation that we are: The "death of the hired man" (invention) ; 6. Naming being in "West-running brook" (judgment as acknowledgment) ; 7. Giving evidence and making evident: civility and madness in "Snow" (proof) ; 8. Ordinary language brought to grief: "Home burial."